Microsoft has starting to roll out the new ( faster and sleeker) preview version of the Teams app for Windows to users enrolled in the Public Preview ring as an option for testing. Microsoft say this will be rolling out in phases and will be available to all customers by June this year. There will also be updates versions to Teams for Mac and for the web later this year.
It is said to consume 50% less memory and 70% less disk space while being up to twice as fast as the current version.
The new client (which has been in testing for many months) should bring the following improvements:
- Install apps up to three times faster
- Launch app up to twice as fast
- Meeting Join speed up to twice as fast
- Switch chats/channels up to 1.7x faster
- Consumes ~50% less memory
- Consumes up ~70% less disk space
As well as the performance issues which will be welcomes, this new version includes a number of other enhancements meant to simplify Teams which builds on the more than 400 feature updates that Microsoft delivered to Teams last year. Examples include:
Chat: Microsoft are also experimenting with tweaks to the UI around chat functions whereby Teams will hide several options behind a plus sign that users can click on to expand – a concept that is already common place in other messaging and collaboration apps like Slack.
Video Calls: During Teams video calls, Teams will show every participant on screen in a box of the same size, rather than giving more space to those who have their camera on.
Copilot Ready: The new Microsoft Teams also includes the foundations needed to support the newly announced Copilot, Microsoft’s AI-powered assistant which is set to bring new intelligent features like meeting recap into Teams. Depending on what “update ring” you/your users are on will impact if and how you get access to the new preview version
How to get access to the “new preview”
Access to the new preview is controlled in part by the admin settings set by your organisations’ IT. If you are eligible to try to the new preview, you will see a new the “switch to preview” at the top left of the Teams Desktop app. The admin guide for enabling this is here:
Public Preview Ring: Any one enrolled (or opted into the public preview program, will have immediate access to the “Try the new Teams” toggle once your app updates to the latest version [ 1.6.00.6754]
Targeted Release Ring: Users will have access to try out the preview of new Teams from mid-April 2023.
Production Ring: For users on the production ring, IT will have the option to allow users to opt-in by using the Teams update management policy to select which users in the organisation can see the toggle and get access to new Teams. Microsoft expect the new Teams client to be generally available from around June 2023.
To get the preview, make sure your Teams client is updated to the latest version [1.6.00.6754 or later].
If you have access to try out the new preview, you will see the Try the new Teams toggle at the top left corner of the Teams app and then click “Get it now” – be sure to read the full list if changes and current known issues (it’s a preview remember).
What doesn’t work (yet)?
Remember this is an early public preview. As such Microsoft say that you may encounter some gaps as this preview release only includes the core features available in classic Teams. Things like the ability to search and add additional Microsoft and 3rd party apps, Line of Business (LOB) apps, advanced calling features such as call queues, and advanced meeting capabilities, including breakout rooms, will be coming in later preview release builds.
Microsoft are keen for feedback on the new experience and ask that feedback is provided via the app or here: Teams Feedback.
Microsoft have said they are working on extending the preview of the new Teams to a broader set of customers, including Education, Government Clouds, and platforms such as Mac, VDI, and Web later this year. In the mean time you can check out the Teams roadmap and Teams Blog to stay up to date with the most recent product developments